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Published on March 17th, 2014 | by Roy L Hales

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Utilities Try To Harness Net Metering In Washington State

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March 17th, 2014 by  

Originally published on the ECOreport.

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The latest attempt to curtail net metering just occurred in Washington state. If HB 2176 had passed, utilities companies would have been able to obtain control of  “leased energy” programs. Only the bill has been returned to committee, which, as this session is over, means it is dead.

A passage in HB 2176 states, “If an electric utility offers a leased energy program, no other entity may offer leases to the utility’s customers.”

The utilities made a total of $400, 588 in campaign contributions during the last election. Most of that came from PacifiCorp ($216,850) and Puget Sound Energy ($123,200), both of which are members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association that represents all US investor-owned electric companies.

EEI recently published a booklet which identified “Distributed energy resources (DER) as (p 4) the largest near-term threat to the utility model.” (The best known DER is rooftop solar.)

EEI has also been active in the attempt to defame the rooftop solar industry through attack ads in both Colorado and Arizona.

The American Legislature Exchange Council (ALEC), an organization that Mother Jones called “one of the nation’s most powerful—and least known—corporate lobbies” is believed to be closely allied to EEI.

The American Legislature Exchange Council (ALEC) attempts to work through state lawmakers. Its model legislation to roll back renewable portfolio standards can be traced to bills in 13 states.

Both PacifiCorp and its parent company, MidAmerican, were members of ALEC up until recently.

PV at sunset in January 2014

PV at sunset in January 2014

Jeffrey Morris, the author of HB 2176, received contributions from PacifiCorp, Puget Sound Energy, BP North America, and a number of gas companies.

PacifiCorp and Puget Sound Energy obtain a substantial proportion of their derived energy (79% and 48%, respectively) from natural gas and coal.

The oil and gas sector contributed $489,764 in the last election.

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About the Author

is the editor of the ECOreport (www.theecoreport.com), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of North America and writes for both Clean Techncia and PlanetSave. He is a research junkie who has written hundreds of articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.



  • beernotwar

    Morris represents a pretty liberal district in Washington State. Seems like it wouldn’t be hard to find a primary challenger. In his district is the city of Bellingham that just elected representatives to block the coal port. He also represents the San Juan Islands which is full of enviros. I’ll send him a message and let him know he can’t hide from this one.

  • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

    When I first read the title, I thought this was game-changing news. That utilities somehow found a way to incorporate and make good use of distributed solar energy, in the same meaning as in the phrase ‘wind turbines harness the power of the wind’.

    Not so, apparently they are still at their same old game. Unsuccessful once again. Phew.

  • Larry

    American Utility companies are running scared. If economical battery storage becomes a reality (which it likely will in 5 yrs) their monopoly operation is dead. Good by to Utility CEO 6 figure salaries.

  • JamesWimberley

    How come the utility lobby lost in Washington? In Arizona SFIK a similar initiative was defeated by an alliance of solar owners, solar leasing companies, and installers, plus a few libertarian Republicans. The latter were more important in Georgia

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